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Asus Transformer Book T100: Performance, Features and Verdict

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Transformer Book T100 9

Summary

Our Score:

9

Asus Transformer Book T100 – Software and Performance

One of the triumphs of the Asus Transformer Book T100 is that it runs full Windows 8.1 rather than the cut-down RT version. Windows RT doesn’t let you install any and every Windows app, just ones from the Windows Store, making it pretty limited.

There was, of course, a reason for this limitation – most low-end Windows tablets don’t really have the power to make such scope worthwhile. Like many of those computers, the Asus Transformer Book T100 has an Intel Atom-based processor.

This is much less powerful than the Intel Core chips used in most mid-range and high-end laptops, but this latest generation of Atom processor is a big improvement that really helps to cement the attraction of the Asus Transformer Book T100.

Transformer Book T100 1

It uses a 1.3GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3740 CPU, which is from the new Bay Trail generation of processors. It’s much, much faster than the equivalent Clover Trail chip of last year. Our PC Mark benchmark shows that it can compete with last-gen Intel Core i3 processors, although naturally not this year’s Haswell models. For a low-cost laptop, the level of power on tap is just ok, but for a tablet the Asus Transformer Book T100 is very, very powerful.

It comes out with 2330 PC Mark 07 points. That’s very close to the Intel Core i3-powered ‘normal’ laptop that sells for up to £500. Not bad eh? However, the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 scored 4,853 points – in another league altogether.

In more practical terms, this means that the T100 is perfect for everyday uses. It doesn’t suffer from the jerkiness of some other low-end Windows tablets, and can run taxing programs like Photoshop without grinding to a halt. However, this is not a performance machine. As well as a fairly low-cost processor, the Asus Transformer Book T100 has just 2GB of RAM – not enough for serious multitasking. A result of this is that programmes still take a while to load.

The Asus Transformer Book T100 comes with Office Home & Student edition pre-installed (usually missing from non-Windows RT tablets). A version of Office is included as standard with Windows RT, but not with ‘full’ Windows, so it’s a great inclusion.

Asus tablet 15

Asus Transformer Book T100 – Battery Life

Unlike other Transformer series hybrids, the Asus Transformer Book T100’s keyboard doesn’t have its own battery to boost the tablet’s stamina. All charging is done using the microUSB port on the tablet part, meaning you don’t have to worry about losing a specific charge cable,

Asus says the battery lasts for 11 hours, but our low-intensity PowerMark test saw it sail through this for a full 12 hours and eight minutes. This is excellent stamina for any tablet, and particularly impressive in a Windows-powered one. It's considerably better than any Windows laptop we've tested and over four hours more than the Surface Pro 2. Impressive.

Asus Transformer Book T100 – Camera and Speakers

Another pleasant surprise is that the Asus Transformer Book T100 has stereo speakers, which fire out of tiny grilles drilled into the glossy plastic rear of the tablet. These aren’t the only spots that output the sound, though. The speaker isn’t fully isolated, meaning it vibrates the back of the tabet at high volume and sound leaks out of the bottom sockets. It doesn’t really matter, though, as it doesn’t spoil the stereo image, and stops covering the grilles from becoming an issue.

Sound quality is respectable for a budget tablet, but not truly remarkable. It’s not too harsh or tinny, and having stereo sound is great for watching movies. Top volume is decent, but lacks the low-end bulk and power of the best tablet speakers. It doesn’t feel like a serious compromise.

What is a more obvious cost saving is the rear camera – the Asus Transformer Book T100 doesn’t have one.

It only has the one front camera, used for video chat. It’s a 1.2-megapixel sensor that produces unremarkable images. Photos are noisy and lacking in detail, and there’s light bloom around strong light sources that marks out a pretty low-end camera sensor.

Other things to consider

There are also some minor omissions in the Asus Transformer Book T100’s connectivity. You get Wi-Fi n and Bluetooth 4.0, but no NFC, no 3G/4G and no IR transmitter. It’s basic. However, we could count the useful applications of NFC for a device like this on one hand. And even then we’d struggle.

Transformer Book T100 8

Should I buy the Asus Transformer Book T100?

In our last Transformer review we said its design was getting a bit musty. However, that was an Android tablet. And a low-cost hybrid like this is just what the Windows 8 tablet market needs.

The Asus Transformer Book T100 feels like a necessary maturing of the budget Windows 8 tablet. It’s practical, pretty powerful, has a half-decent screen and its flexible design mitigates the lack of games and apps designed for Windows 8 tablets – compared to Android and iOS tablets.

It’s not perfect – there are clear generational improvements to be made in the screen tech in particular, and the trackpad needs a tweak – but this is a tablet that really can double as a laptop for light duties. We’d rather have a T100 than a Surface 2 and at present there’s nothing that can touch it that offers the same power and flexibility at this price.

Verdict

The Asus Transformer Book T100 is a tablet that leaves out frilly features in order to bring the Transformer form to Windows with zero impact on cost. And what has resulted is a bit of a hit. If a tablet-laptop Windows 8 hybrid is what you’re after, you can’t do any better at the price.

Next, read our helpful tablet buyer's guide

Overall Score

9

Scores In Detail

  • Battery Life 10
  • Build Quality 8
  • Design 8
  • Performance 7
  • Screen Quality 8
  • Sound Quality 7
  • Value 10

pikachu

November 26, 2013, 4:39 pm

"Finally, a low-cost Windows 8 tablet that doesn't stink"

Is that jab at Dell for their laptop stinking of cat pee!

shj

November 26, 2013, 8:53 pm

Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come: affordable, practical Windows tablet. This is what I had expected of the original Surface ast year. Instead, MS delivered a turkey and I went for the ipad instead.

Polly Ripley

November 26, 2013, 10:35 pm

As I believe these new Atom processors can support up to 4GB RAM, it's a bit of a shame that none of the latest Windows tablets seem to have more than 2. Longer battery life and no need for a noisy fan make these tablets far more appealing than a budget laptop, but I'm sure most of us would trade 90-odd quids-worth of bundled Office software for an extra couple of gigs of RAM.

B-Nasty

November 28, 2013, 1:05 am

The thing would become bottlenecked by the CPU in any task requiring 4 gigs of ram including moderate multitasking. Not bashing the thing either, I'm getting one and I think it looks incredible but 2 gigs of ram and the native resolution just make sense given the rest of the hardware.

Mark

November 28, 2013, 10:26 am

Luckily I'm of to California next week, so I can bag one of these for ~£220
Shame they don't reflect the same value over here for these type of products.

Polly Ripley

November 28, 2013, 2:20 pm

Why would Intel make the new quad-core Atom processors capable of supporting 4 gigs if they couldn't use it all? Seems like a waste of time and resources to me.

B-Nasty

November 28, 2013, 3:44 pm

Well, there are higher powered versions of the chip which can handle the load of heavier multitasking and RAM dependent tasks. All of the processors share the same features and design leaving the lower end processors with capabilities they might not realistically be able to take advantage of.

Polly Ripley

November 28, 2013, 5:09 pm

Interesting. When I saw a comparison chart, some of the new Bay Trail CPUs were limited to 2 and some could handle 4. I think it's odd that we haven't had an Atom-based Windows tablet with 4 gigs as an option released yet. Dell let you choose different processors and configurations for their 11 inch Windows 8 tablet, starting with an Atom, but jump straight to i3/i5 series without giving us an option to choose the higher-spec Atom with 4GB. Perhaps they haven't been manufactured in sufficient quantities yet and we'll have to wait until the new year for more choice?

B-Nasty

November 28, 2013, 10:17 pm

We'll probably have to wait till next year sadly. The Fujitsu (http://globalsp.ts.fujitsu.com... tablet here is using 4 gigs of ram, a 2560×1600 display, will have digitizer support and will run on the stronger bay trail z3770 processor but it will cost ~$1400. The z3740 is what we have in the t100 and honestly the Fujitsu will probably run just as fast as the t100 in real world tests despite a slightly better processor and more RAM because of its ridiculously high resolution. For a budget device I think the t100 hits all the right notes when it comes to hardware for the time being but in ~4 months we'll probably see similarly priced devices spec'd the same as that Fujitsu.

Ben

December 23, 2013, 3:46 pm

Is the battery replaceable?

andyvan

December 23, 2013, 3:48 pm

No, it isn't.

horsome

December 24, 2013, 12:39 pm

This is the best tablet, scrap, computer out in the market right now. Non-BS computing, no shiny metallic w@nky features, no over the top cpu's or unnecessary fingerprinting device, all with full pc capabilities. A good old fashioned computer that does what it needs to do and gives back to its owner and then some for the hard earned shelled out. Machines like this will steer MS and W8 in the right direction with the appropriate affordable hardware to leverage off.

ilikepear

December 30, 2013, 4:19 pm

There is the dk005H version. 32gb with a 500gb 5400rpm spinning hdd on the keyboard dock.

Good news, the 500gb is user replaceable. Put in my old 500gb Samsung Pro SSD... overkill in terms of bandwidth & price. But it becomes a nice quiet speedy system.

chrisax

January 10, 2014, 9:38 am

Does the T100 have a GPS chip?

db

January 17, 2014, 11:42 am

Just picked one up for 480$aus...its great value and blows the competition away..I have a MacBook pro and an iPad 2 & this will certainly replace the ipad2 & will be my road warrior

CyberGusa

January 22, 2014, 9:36 am

No, it's a budget model and they still tend to leave GPS out of any tablet that doesn't offer a cellular modem too... So you'd have to either link it with a phone that does or get a 3rd party GPS receiver... but WiFi location works if you can access WiFi...

JayW

February 21, 2014, 9:34 pm

i just bought one @ Staples, New Philly, OH for US $329.99 (best price I found!)- has 64GB, 2GB RAM, Win 8, Office 2013 Home & Student. GREAT BUY!

Lawrence

February 22, 2014, 7:38 am

Can the Keyboard be used when separated from the scree? Bluetooth connection?

Martin

February 24, 2014, 6:09 pm

No, you can't

teri

March 4, 2014, 2:46 am

Does the Asus t100 have cameras

cunnol

March 12, 2014, 3:33 pm

It has one front facing one in the centre above the screen, 1.2 megapixel, looks pretty nice for a skype call

Mo Pages

March 14, 2014, 7:32 pm

I'm considering doing the same at the moment. Was the 64gb hd an SSD? & where dya end up getting yours from?

Edgar

March 23, 2014, 7:45 am

What is the maximum screen resolution through HDMI port?

Alex

March 23, 2014, 2:10 pm

Hey! Is it possiblr to use the usb port without the keyboard?

Bill

April 15, 2014, 2:32 pm

Can the T100 be charging while in use? I have an Ideapad Lynx and, when mated to the keyboard, will not charge at all if plugged in.

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